Episode Guide Teaser Act 1 Act 2 Act 3 Act 4

ACT FOUR

 

FADE IN:

 

EXT. WESTERN ROAD - EARLY EVENING

 

The kingdom of Pilates receding behind them, Xena and Gabrielle are on the last leg of their journey.  The large, relatively smooth western road skirts Amphipolis and dips down into Poteidia.

 

Off to the left, a short distance ahead, a tall outcropping of bushes sways in a non existent breeze.  Gabrielle cocks her head.

 

GABRIELLE

Rabbits?

 

XENA

(grinning)

The two legged kind, maybe.

 

Dropping Argoís reins and gesturing for the horse to stay, Xena moves silently toward the shaking bushes. Gabrielle follows just as quietly behind.

 

GABRIELLE

(whispering)

Xena....

 

XENA

(whispering)

Shh.

(beat)

Listen.

 

VOICE #1

Take a look out there.

 

VOICE #2

Iím not gonna look.  You look!

 

VOICE #1

Iím not gonna look.

 

VOICE #3

Shut up, both of ya.

 

The bushes rustle slightly.

 

VOICE #1

Ya see anything, boss?

 

VOICE #3

Nothiní.

 

VOICE #2

(plaintively)

How long we gotta wait, boss?  Iím

gittiní stiff kneeliní here like this all day.

 

VOICE #3

Shut up, ya stooge.  Weíre waitiní till

that namby pamby prince rides by,

and weíre gonna nab him and bring

him back to Gluteus, just like he said.

 

VOICE #2

And then weíll be rolliní

in dough, right boss?

 

VOICE #3

More than you ever saw

in your life, buddy boy.

 

VOICE #1

Wow.  Gluteus is really smart, ainít

he, boss?  Kidnappiní the prince on

his wedding day.  That takes brains.

 

VOICE #3

Heís smart, all right.  Smart like a fox.

 

Holding a finger to her lips in a signal to Gabrielle, Xena steps silently in front of the bush, then very softly clears her throat.

 

VOICE #2

Did you hear that??

 

VOICE #1

I didnít hear nothiní.

Did you, boss?

 

VOICE #3

Hear what?

 

Xena clears her throat again.

 

VOICE #2

That!  That!!  Didja hear it??

 

VOICE #1

I heard it, and I ainít lookiní.

 

VOICE #3

Idiots!

 

The bushes slowly part to reveal the balding head of a well-built, if extremely dirty, man.  His eyes widen as he spies a pair of armored legs.  His gaze travels slowly up very long legs, along leather and brass armor, and up into the sky blue, and not very kind gaze of Xena. 

 

MAN #3

Who are you??

 

XENA

(smirking)

Me?  Oh, Iím the Solstice Fairy.

 

 

Two more heads quickly pop out of the bushes.

 

MAN #1

The Solstice Fairy!  Really?

 

XENA

Yup.

(beat, sensually)

And Iím about to make all

your dreams come true.

 

The last thing the men see is a booted foot which sends them into an early Solstice nap.

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. WESTERN ROAD - NEAR SUNSET

 

Xena and Gabrielle are on the last stretch for Poteidia.  They come upon a very familiar and quite wide river that seems to be missing an important accompaniment.

 

GABRIELLE

Uh... Xena?

 

XENA

(preoccupied)

Yeah?

 

GABRIELLE

Didnít there used to

be a bridge here?

 

Turning from her examination of Argoís hooves, Xena scans the river.  Thereís no bridge in sight.

 

XENA

Used to be.

 

A second later, her hand darts out and grabs Gabrielle by the back of her cloak, pulling her to Xenaís side.  Gabrielle looks at her strangely.

 

GABRIELLE

I wasnít planning on

falling in, you know.

 

 

Suddenly, the ground shakes and quakes and rumbles.  Gabrielle grabs Xena tightly, using the taller body to help her keep balance.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

What in Tartarus?

 

VOICE

(off camera)

FE! FI! FO! FUM! 

I SMELL Ö..

 

A pause as a giant, and blind, Cyclops stomps from behind the large rock outcropping to the left of them.

 

CYCLOPS

(growling)

XENA!!!!

 

Xena grins, completely unsurprised.

 

XENA

You remembered.  Iím touched.

 

CYCLOPS

How could I forget?

You blinded me!

 

XENA

Canít say Iím sorry I did, either.

 

CYCLOPS

You will!  Youíll be screaming

your apology after I get through

ripping your flesh from your bones!

 

Xena laughs.

 

XENA

Thatíll be the day.

 

CYCLOPS

Iím serious!  Thereís no escape

for you now, Xena.  Iíve taken

the bridge out, as you can see.

 

Xena shrugs.

 

XENA

So?  Weíll just go back

the way we came.

 

 

The Cyclops laughs.

 

CYCLOPS

I donít think so!!

 

The ground rumbles again.  Xena and Gabrielle turn in time to see a second blind Cyclops come out of hiding, blocking the road.

 

CYCLOPS #2

GRAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!

 

XENA

Aw.  Youíve found a

friend.  HowÖ nice.

 

CYCLOPS #2

GRAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!

 

XENA

Not very talkative, is he?

 

CYCLOPS

Heís just hungry!  For YOU!!

 

 

XENA

Sorry, but I already

have a partner.

 

Gabrielle smirks.

 

CYCLOPS #2

GRAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!

 

The ground moves again as the second Cyclops lumbers forward, his massive arms held out in an attempt to grab Xena and Gabrielle.  The pair merely step to one side, and the Cyclops stumbles into his friend, driving them backwards almost into the river.

 

Xenaís eyes light up.

 

GABRIELLE

I know that look.

 

Xena grins.

 

XENA

Gimme a quill.

 

GABRIELLE

What?

 

XENA

Címon, címon.  A quill.

 

Looking at Xena strangely, Gabrielle pulls a quill from her bag and hands it to her partner.  Xena snatches it up with a grin.

 

XENA

Thanks!

 

The two Cyclops have managed to disentangle themselves and are facing the women, heads cocked as they try to sniff out their prey.  Xena darts over to the first, inverts the quill, and begins running the feathered end over the Cyclopsí instep.

 

CYCLOPS

Stop that!

 

Grinning evilly, Xena only rubs harder, darting the feather all over his foot. 

 

CYCLOPS

STOP THAT!!!

 

His threats are to no avail.  Finally he lifts his foot up, grasping it with his hands as he begins laughing. Xena darts over to the other foot and applies the same treatment.

 

A second later, a wildly laughing Cyclops begins to fall.

 

GABRIELLE

Timber!!

 

The ground shakes hugely, and by the time the dust has cleared, the Cyclops has formed a ďhumanĒ bridge across the water.

 

Gabrielle nods to her partner.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

Iím impressed!

 

 

CYCLOPS #2

GRAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!

 

XENA

You got somethiní to say?

 

CYCLOPS #2

That wonít work with me!!

 

Xena grins again.

 

XENA

Maybe not, but this will.

 

Reaching into Gabrielleís bag, she pulls out a scroll, checks carefully to make sure it has no writing on it, and then opens it up fully.  Holding it completely extended side to side, she runs over to the second Cyclops and begins to saw the sharp edge against his big toe.

 

CYCLOPS #2

No!  Not a parchment cut!

I HATE THOSE!!!

 

Laughing, Xena just keeps up the torture until the second Cyclops joins his friend, spanning the river with his body.

 

With a pleased smirk, Xena returns to Gabrielleís side, handing her back the parchment and quill.

 

GABRIELLE

Bard tools as weapons.

Who knew?

 

 

XENA

I have....

 

GABRIELLE

Donít remind me.

(beat)

Címon, weíve got a

Solstice to celebrate.

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. OUTSKIRTS OF POTEIDIA - NIGHT

 

Xena and Gabrielle have finally arrived at their destination.  The last hour of the journey has been taken up with Gabrielleís observations on Poteidiaís unique Solstice Eve celebration.  The whole town comes out on Solstice Eve and circles the largest tree in the town.  The Solstice Tree, as it is called, is gaily decorated with ribbons, pinwheels and candles.  The townspeople hold hands in a circle and sing Solstice carols as the night draws on.

 

As they arrive in the town, Xena notes that, indeed the townspeople are circled around a huge tree in the center of the town square.  It doesnít seem like much of a Solstice Tree, however, given the only decorations are a few scattered, ugly, clumps of dead leaves barely hanging on to naked, peeling branches.

 

All the townspeople are staring up, and Xena looks up as well.  She canít see anything amiss, and looks to Gabrielle with a question in her eyes.  Gabrielle shrugs.

 

LILA

Gabrielle??  Gabrielle,

is that you?!?

 

GABRIELLE

Lila!!!

 

Xena gets left behind as Gabrielle races across the square and into her sisterís wide, welcoming arms.  Xena smiles as she watches the two women embrace tightly. She moves forward when Gabrielle finally pulls away and beckons her.

 

 

Lila looks a bit uncomfortable, given her part in Janosí plans against Xena.

 

Xena gives her a smile and with a gentle hand, pulls the older woman into a hug.

 

XENA

Happy Solstice, Lila.

 

LILA

(crying)

Iím so, so sorry,

Xena.  IÖ.

 

XENA

Shh. Itís all right.

 Itís all right.

 

LILA

Xena, IÖ.

 

Pulling away slightly, Xena cups Lilaís chin and tilts her head up so that their gazes meet.

 

XENA

Itís all right, Lila.

(beat, smiling)

You did what you thought you

had to do to protect Gabrielle.

 

LILA

I should have trusted you!!

 

XENA

You wanted what was best for

your sister.  I can understand that.

(beat)

Itís what I want, too.

 

LILA

Can you ever forgive me?

 

About to demur, Xena realizes how important this is to Lila, so she nods.

 

XENA

Thereís nothing to

forgive, butÖ yes.

 

A look of profound relief sweeping over her face, Lila pulls Xena back into a hug.

 

LILA

Thank you, Xena. 

Thank you.

 

The women break apart as Gabrielle steps in, putting a hand on each of their shoulders.

 

GABRIELLE

(smiling)

Is this a private party,

or can I join too?

 

Laughing, Lila hugs her sister, and Xena completes the circle.  They stand together for a long time before finally breaking apart.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

So, whereís Sarah?

 

LILA

Over at the in-laws.  Theyíll

be back tomorrow morning.

 

GABRIELLE

I canít wait to see her.

 

 

Looking up, she sees that the rest of the townspeople are staring at them.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

Oh!  I guess weíre holding up

the festivities.  What song

are we gonna sing first?

 

Lila blushes a little.

 

LILA

No, not quite.

 

GABRIELLE

What?

 

LILA

This yearís Solstice

Tree is over there.

 

Lila points to a gaily decorated tree some fifty feet to the left.

 

GABRIELLE

(confusedly)

Then why is everyone

standing around this one?

 

LILA

Well, you see, thereís

a littleÖ problem.

 

GABRIELLE

Problem?  What?

 

LILA

A cat.

(beat)

Itís stuck way up at the top.

(beat)

And we canít get it down.

 

Gabrielle looks over to Xena, who shrugs.

 

XENA

Iíll come down when

itís hungry.

 

LILA

Itís been up there

for three days!

 

XENA

Itíll come down

when itís cold, then.

 

LILA

Xena, itís supposed

to snow tonight.

 

XENA

So?  Itís got a fur coat.

 

 

GABRIELLE

Xena....

 

XENA

Gabrielle, if they want the cat,

they can climb up and get it.

 

LILA

UmÖ we tried that.  No oneís strong

enough to climb that high.  There

arenít any branches low enough.

 

Xena and Gabrielle look at one another.  Gabrielleís eyes get big and round, imploring in a way that she knows Xena canít resist.

 

Xena is wavering.

 

Suddenly, a little girl of no more than three steps forward, holding her motherís hand.  Her eyes are as big and as round and as green as Gabrielleís as she looks up at the tall warrior.

 

LITTLE GIRL

Pwease?

 

Xena sighs.

 

XENA

Fine.

 

Walking over to the tree, she slips through the human chain, gently pushing the bystanders away.  Taking a few breaths, she swings her arms, squats down and, releasing her battle cry jumps straight up.  Catching the lowest branch a dozen feet over her head, she swings around and lands on it feet first.

 

She nimbly climbs the tree until she is at the very top.  A tiny, orange ball of fur hisses at her, baring its fangs and puffing up to twice its size.

 

XENA

(contíd)

Listen, buddy, this isnít exactly

Olympus for me either, so if youíll

just cooperate, I wonít have

to turn you into a muff.

 

The cat hisses again and backs off a step.

 

XENA

(contíd)

Weíre gonna have to do this

the hard way then, huh?

(beat, sotto voce)

Why am I not surprised?

 

 

She holds out her fingers, encouraging the cat to sniff them.

 

XENA

(contíd)

Címere, cat.

 

Another hiss.  Another backpedal.

 

Xena reaches out to grab the feline, but the cat anticipates her move and darts backward. 

 

Only to find itself in thin air.

 

XENA

(contíd)

Oh, goody for me.

 

Reaching out again, she manages to snare the cat before it falls too far, but her movements shatter the already dead branch and she, too finds herself in thin air.

 

The cat, frightened out of eight of its nine lives, hooks into her with its claws.  It leaves bloody scratches as it scrambles around for a safe perch on her body.

 

Grimacing, Xena allows herself to fall through the air, hitting and breaking branches on the way down, until she is finally able to grab the lowest, stoutest branch.  She hangs on, swinging slightly, as the cat sinks its claws into her chest just above her armor.

 

Letting go of the branch, she makes a graceful landing on the firm ground.  Plucking the cat off with an internal wince, she hands it to the little girl, who beams and cuddles the now purring and totally friendly little monster.

 

LITTLE GIRL

Tank you.

 

XENA

(falsely smiling)

Youíre welcome.

 

As the little girl toddles off, Gabrielle runs over and embraces Xena, then pulls back at the slight hiss from her partnerís lips.

 

GABRIELLE

Xena!  Youíre bleeding!

 

XENA

Iíll live.

 

 

Gabrielle grabs her hand.

 

GABRIELLE

Come with me.  Lilaís staying with

some friends of hers tonight, so we

have the whole house to ourselves.

Let me get you cleaned up and in bed.

 

Xena pulls back slightly.

 

XENA

Iím fine, Gabrielle.  Letís just

watch the Solstice festivities

and I can clean up later, okay?

 

GABRIELLE

But youíre bleeding.

 

XENA

Iíve had worse bug bites.  Címon.

 

GABRIELLE

Are you sure?

 

Xena smiles, touches her partnerís face, and leans in for a kiss.

 

XENA

Very sure.

 

She takes advantage of their close proximity for another kiss, followed by a warm, loving embrace.

 

XENA

(contíd)

Happy Solstice, Gabrielle.

 

GABRIELLE

(eyes shining)

Happy Solstice, Xena.

Thank you.

(beat)

For everything.

 

 

Hand in hand, Xena and Gabrielle slowly walk with the others until they have taken up places around the Solstice Tree.  They join in as the townspeople sing on the longest night of the year.

 

FADE OUT.

 

END OF ACT FOUR

 

TAG

 

FADE IN:

 

INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT

 

A freshly bathed, scrubbed, and medically tended Xena lays sprawled across Lilaís rather large bed, smiling at her partner.  Gabrielle, also freshly bathed and wearing a silken robe is standing by the fireplace.  Her fingers move almost reverently across the gorgeous hand tooled leather scroll satchel Xena has just presented to her for Solstice.  She looks over at Xena, eyes shining.

 

GABRIELLE

This is absolutely beautiful, Xena.

(beat)

You made it yourself, didnít you?

 

Xena nods.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

But how?  When?

 

XENA

I have....

 

GABRIELLE

(laughing)

Yeah, yeah, I know.

(beat)

Thank you.  I love it.

(beat)

I love you.

 

 

XENA

(grinning)

Double for me.

 

Placing the satchel on a sturdy table, Gabrielle walks toward the bed, one hand held behind her back.

 

GABRIELLE

Ready for your presents?

 

Xena sits up, her back resting against the wall.

 

XENA

Gimme.

 

GABRIELLE

Behave.

 

XENA

Or?

 

GABRIELLE

Just behave.

 

Xena pouts, then she grins and crosses her arms over her chest.

 

From behind her back, Gabrielle produces a scroll.  Untying the leather ties, she opens the scroll and peeps at Xena over the edge.

 

XENA

A story?

 

GABRIELLE

Mm. More like a poem, I think.

Actually, I wrote it to be sung, but

Iíll do us both a favor and just read it.

 

Xena laughs softly.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

Ready?

 

XENA

Yup.

 

 

Gabrielle clears her throat, then begins to read.

 

GABRIELLE

My true love has so many skills

As she often says to me

But even with those many skills

Sheís harder on herself than she should be.

She thinks sheís old and over the hill

But I know thatís not the case

And since she just wonít listen to me

Iíll tell this to her face.

 

Gabrielle looks up smiling at Xenaís gentle laughter.

 

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

On the days before Solstice my true love fixed for me:

Twelve Nasty Bandits

Eleven Fleeing Sheep

Ten Stranded Orphans

Nine Dancing Ladies

Eight Milking Maidens

Seven Spelunkers Spelunking

 

Xena laughs out loud.  Gabrielle grins widely, and continues.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

Six Thieves AíWeighing

 

XENA

GROAN!!

 

GABRIELLE

(smirkingÖ singing)

Five Wandíring Minstrels!

 

XENA

(laughing hard)

Oh, gods.

 

GABRIELLE

Four Broken Wagons

Three Henchmen

Two Blind Cyclops

 

Gabrielle eyes Xena.  Xena grins.

 

XENA AND GABRIELLE

(singing)

And a Cat Stuck Way Up In A Tree!

 

In the distance, they hear an outraged cat yowl, and they collapse against one another in laughter.

 

After a long moment, Xena pulls back, wiping tears of mirth from her eyes.

 

XENA

Thank you, my love.

Thatís the best Solstice

present Iíve ever been given.

 

Kissing Xena on the cheek, Gabrielle rises.

 

GABRIELLE

Youíre welcome.

 

Placing the scroll on the nightstand, she turns again to Xena.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

So, do you believe me now

that youíre not old and you

just need a little vacation?

 

 

Xena pretends to think about it.

 

XENA

Maybe.

 

GABRIELLE

What will it take to convince you?

 

XENA

Whadda ya got?

 

Smiling, Gabrielle steps back to the bed, presenting the tie to her robe.

 

 

 

GABRIELLE

Youíll just have to open

it and find out.

 

 

FADE TO BLACK.

 

DISCLAIMER

 

 

 

COMING JANUARY 15TH ON XENA